April 28, 2014

Consumerization of Enterprise IT

Manish Kumar

Head Offering Management & Customer Enablement Consulting, Tieto

Having started my career in textile manufacturing, I always wanted to be in a vibrant industry such as information technology (IT), which I joined over a decade ago. I believe the IT industry’s vibrancy has only been triggered in the last couple of years. An important driving force for this change is the incorporation of apps into our smartphones.

These apps have transformed our day to day lives and redefined the way we consume and interact with technology. The effect of this revolution has been far-reaching in our lives and also in our offices. Throughout the information age’s history, there has never been such a time where the business IT was so heavily influenced by consumer IT trends and demands. Today, the world of IT services (on the enterprise side) is looking for development cues from the consumer world. This phenomenon is called the “consumerization of enterprise IT.”

The consumerization of IT in enterprises has added concepts like social media and mobility to our enterprise life. As users of enterprise systems, we have become more demanding on corporate IT for providing us with intuitive tools and applications that are easy to use. We no longer want to undergo weeks of training to use certain corporate applications, and we need to have the flexibility to access and use them anywhere at any time. It will not be long until the recent trend of wearable computing (Google glasses, smart watches, gesture control, and so on) will enter the enterprise space with industrial applicability for them. As I see it, today’s enterprise world cannot be secluded from the consumerized world of IT. This is because the average user of enterprise IT systems is getting much more insight based on his/her experiences on the consumer side of IT.

IT for enterprises today cannot be looked at in isolation, and for successful enterprises, it has to be part of their business strategy. The days of corporate IT department in organizations are limited because for IT to be a part of each business function, we will for sure be entering the world of business-driven IT. The sooner the organizations accept and acknowledge this change, they’ll have a better chance of flourishing in the future. The way organizations buy IT services will certainly need to change to keep up with the business needs of an enterprise. We would get to see more IT contracts that are aligned to business needs, service agreements that are agile and flexible, and consumption models that are dynamic in nature.

The static long-term agreements will become a thing of the past. The apps world on the consumer side of IT has spurred the need for pre-packaged and easy-to-buy consumer enterprise IT solutions. These are solutions that are end-to-end offerings, delivered as a service and priced irrespective of which form of IT services we have been used to delivering in the past. One aspect is clear: things need to change now to keep pace with the changing world around us.

The large static-pure service level driven agreements have to change to reflect the harsh reality of the business world. The future of IT services is a reflection of the true services industry where hotel room rent and airfares can dramatically change depending on the demand. The ones that attract the most of traffic are the ones that have clear and well packaged services with a needed “Wow!” factor. The same holds true for the IT services market and business. Those of us in IT services business need to learn the true meaning of the word “services,” and this will hold the key to our success in the future.

Manish Kumar is Head Offering Management & Customer Enablement Consulting and System Integration (CSI) at Tieto. You can read more about him here or follow him on Twitter.

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